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Sep 9, 2017 at 3pm UK at Villa Park
Attendance: 29,799
Aston Villa

Steve Bruce: "I blame myself"

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce says that he accepts the blame for the club's poor start to the new Championship season.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has accepted the blame for the club's poor start to the Championship season.

The Midlands outfit were tipped as the pre-season favourites for the title by many bookmakers following a summer which saw them bring in a host of experienced players including John Terry, Glenn Whelan and Ahmed Elmohamady.

The club have managed just one win from their opening six league fixtures, however, with their points return of six leaving them a disappointing 18th in the Championship table.

Boos rang around Villa Park yesterday as they were held to a goalless draw by one-from-bottom Brentford and, speaking to reporters afterwards, Bruce admitted that he had full sympathy for the fans.

"I was conscious of the fact that almost the whole team had been away on international duty," he said. "I don't want to make excuses but in hindsight it wasn't ideal with them all being away.

"I blame myself. They've been away for 10 days and with my experience I should have done better. I take a bit of responsibility because there was no real freshness. We were as flat as we could have been.

"It's arguably the worst we've been since I've been here. I've been here for nine months now but we today we didn't have any spark. We didn't do anything with the ball or without it. We look jaded.

"I look at myself and take the responsibility for that. I should have done better."

Next up for Bruce's side is another home encounter - this time with sixth-placed Middlesbrough - on Tuesday evening.

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Harry Redknapp, manager of QPR looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City at Loftus Road on September 20, 2014
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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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